I have been thinking about writing this for a while, but it is a tough subject and up until now I wasn’t quite ready.
Grief comes in many forms and it hits people in all different ways. I know a lot about this subject; unfortunately I have experienced a lot of loss in my life, so I really do know what it is like. We heal at different times and in different ways; the grief comes and goes at different times and in different ways, we don’t forget, but we learn to carry on.
We grieve for many different reasons, but the common theme is loss, whether we have lost someone who is still alive but no longer in our lives, or if they have sadly passed away; the loss is still real. Whether it is a much loved pet that we could no longer care for, or who has passed away, we have still lost a much loved companion. Whether we feel we have lost a part of ourselves, or missed an opportunity, we still feel loss.
That sense of loss is indescribable and it is different for each and every one of us, no one knows what that loss is like for us, others may try to understand, but they just don’t know and sometimes this can be frustrating, people want to fix us or tell us how we feel and we just can’t explain… have you ever felt that way?
If you have read some of my other blogs you will know I had a tricky childhood; my first loss was from someone no longer being there, they hadn’t passed away, but they had disappeared from my life, because my family was pretty broken. Then it happened again and again, until I was the one made to leave… each of these times I experienced loss and it still impacts on me at times today.
As I got older, I started to experience people dying, I had grown used to losing people, but no one had died before, this time it was final.
My Grandad was my favourite person in the world and the only one who was always there for me, so when he sadly passed away it was really hard. I didn’t know what to do or how to deal with it, but I did my best to make sense of it, to accept that life would now be different and keep going. I knew Grandad wouldn’t want me sitting around moping, he would have wanted me to live my life and follow my dreams and that is just what I did; I know he is with me, watching over me and I can still imagine his voice in my mind, mostly laughing at me or teasing me, which makes me smile!
I want to talk a bit more about losing a much loved pet, it is one of the hardest things; you can’t explain to them what is happening. What makes it harder is that some people don’t know what to say, especially if they don’t have pets, they don’t understand that special bond, that big gap now in your life and your home. We sometimes feel we need to hide the grief, but it is OK and it is perfectly normal, they are a huge part of our lives. Try to find that person you can really talk to.
The loss of a missed opportunity, the ‘what ifs’, or I used to be this or that, or could have been this or that, it hurts. Again, it isn’t something we can always talk about to others, some people don’t get it, or sometimes we just feel silly, but it too is real and its OK and a lot of people experience this.
Grief isn’t something we talk about much, either we don’t want to upset someone so we don’t ask, even though we know they are hurting; or when asked we don’t want to say, we stick to ‘I’m ok’, we don’t want to worry others with our sadness, our hurt, our pain, even though our hearts are breaking. Then, very occasionally we sense judgement that one thing we are scared of the reason we don’t open up, the look or comment to say ‘aren’t you over that yet’, the look that says ‘pull yourself together’. I am guessing these people have never experienced real grief, they just don’t know what it is really like and we wouldn’t wish that on them, but we know that one day they will understand, because unfortunately it happens to us all.
I am sharing this, because we all experience grief at one time or another and sometimes we just don’t know what to do. In the past three years two of my siblings passed away, due to our broken family we weren’t always in each other’s lives, which is so sad, but the hurt is the same, and this time it is final, I feel really sad some days, but I also know they would want me to go on, to live my life to the full and make the best of every day, so that is what I try to do. The reason I am writing this today is that tomorrow is the second anniversary of my sister passing away, and although it is certainly easier today than it was then, it still hurts and it will always hurt, but it does get easier. The picture is where I go to remember my sister and the flowers are for her.
What made it easier at the time, is those people who dared to ask; How are you feeling? How are you coping? Those people who did dare to message every day, simply saying I am here if you need me, without judgement or the need for a response. Those people let me know I wasn’t alone. I did my bit too, I was brave, I didn’t always say ‘I’m OK’ when I clearly wasn’t, I was real and talking about it helped me to heal.
Speaking about loss whether it be, through absence, illness, death or missed opportunities is ok, it helps us to heal, grow and learn. This is the gift, the positive thing which comes out of this terrible time. If we can find the gift, the learning, whatever that may be, and don’t get me wrong it isn’t easy, but there will be something if we look hard enough, it will help in the moving forward, to know it wasn’t all for nothing, knowing that we can take something positive forwards.
Again I am sharing this, not for sympathy, but to raise awareness. I am opening up the conversation so others can too; I hope that by sharing just a little bit about how it has been for me, that others will know they are not alone. There is no time limit, there is no right or wrong way to grieve, we do it in our own way in our own time and that is OK. Be kind to yourself and be kind to those around you, talk to others, be brave, ask how that person is, or be brave and answer honestly, even if it may be hard. You don’t know the difference it will make until you try.
There are many organisations who support people with grieving, maybe look them up, or if you feel that this resonated with you, as always, feel free to get in touch for an informal, no obligation chat, or maybe even book yourself an introductory session, 30 minutes of your time could just change your life!
Until next time! If you enjoyed this, don’t forget to sign up for my Monthly Inspiration email!